Friday, May 20, 2022

The early years

by By Larry Wilson
| April 13, 2022 7:05 AM

Spring is pretty much the same every year on the North Fork. Runoff from the winter snow, weather that ranges from warm to cold, precipitation from rain to sleet to snow. Water and mud everywhere and no telling what the weather will be in two hours – let alone tomorrow.

I am still getting used to the North Fork Road being a year round road. When I was a boy the county did not plow the road until about the first of May. The only plowing was done by loggers. If there were no timber sales there was no plowing. The mail man (or lady) came up the inside road from Belton to Polebridge and then up the North Fork Road to the Canadian Border.

This required special equipment even in the days before snowmobiles. I remember Ralph Day on a caterpillar towing a big sled with a tent on it to deliver mail and sometimes passengers. Even so, there were times when Madge Cooper would send her husband Ollie south on snowshoes to get mail if it made it to Polebridge or McFarlands Quarter Circle MC in Big Prairie. There were times where there was no mail for a month or more and it would be delivered by air. The plane would fly over and drop mailbags for the Polebridge Post Office and the Trail Creek Post Office. When I was in high school the Trail Creek Post Office was at Moose City, Madge Terrian postmistress.

I don’t remember if Annette Rover or her husband Ben was the actual Postmaster. I think it was Annette because folks were always complaining about her reading the postcards – she did not deny it and often spread comments about what she had read. She justified her actions by telling people to send letters if they wanted privacy. Postage sales were important to local postmasters and affected their pay from the postal service.

From two post offices we are now reduced to zero and for my money the Postal Service treats our contracted carrier shabbily. If you want the contract you better not include the realistic depreciation of your vehicle or health insurance or you will be squeezed by the government’s high paid bureaucrats. A penny postcard will soon be 44 cents, on its way to 50 cents and I expect to live to see the cost of a first class stamp reach 75 or 80 cents.

Road conditions are always a big topic – especially in the spring. I surveyed a clutch of North Forkers last week and even drove nearly to the Border and back myself. As expected, old timers rated the road good to excellent and newcomers thought it was awful and should be paved.

What do you think?